Pakistan bowlers fight back against Black Caps in second Test

Devon Conway hits century before hosts strike in final session to leave Kiwis on 309-6 by stumps in Karachi

Pakistan's Agha Salman, left, celebrates with Babar Azam after the dismissal of New Zealand's Henry Nicholls during the first day of the second Test in Karachi on Monday, January 2, 2023. AP
Powered by automated translation

Pakistan bowlers fought their way back into the second Test against New Zealand after opener Devon Conway led the Kiwis' early domination in Karachi.

Conway made a commanding 122 before the hosts struck in the final session to limit the visitors to 309-6 at stumps on Monday.

Batting first, the Black Caps dominated large parts of the opening two sessions as Conway put together partnerships of 134 and 100 with Tom Latham and Kane Williamson respectively at the National Stadium.

Conway hit 16 boundaries and one six in his 191-ball knock to reach his fourth century in Tests.

Pakistan were finally able to stem New Zealand's flow in the final session as they took five wickets, with spinner Agha Salman claiming the scalps of Conway, Henry Nicholls and Daryl Mitchell.

Tom Blundell was on 30 unbeaten with Ish Sodhi at the close.

“The surface certainly got a little bit drier, which offered a little bit more spin for the turners,” Conway said after the day's play. “The game is certainly evenly poised, we did win those first two sessions, but the way Pakistan have bounced back in that last session certainly brought them back in the game.”

“Personally, it’s been a good ride so far when you have played a handful of test games,” Conway added. “It’s just nice to get an opportunity to play and contribute for the team.”

Salman pegged back New Zealand with the old ball on a wicket that had some grass and tempted Pakistan to go with three fast bowlers – Mir Hamza, recalled Hasan Ali and fit-again Naseem Shah – and just one specialist spinner Abrar Ahmed.

“I knew there could be a responsibility on me as a second spinner for which I was ready,” Salman said. “The wicket had a bite [for spinners] after tea as it got dried up and it troubled them.”

Salman had Conway caught behind by Sarfaraz Ahmed soon after tea to make it 234-2. Six runs later fast bowler Naseem dismissed Williamson in the same manner.

Off-spinner Salman then struck twice, beating Mitchell's defence for three and then having Nicholls caught behind for 26.

Abrar took his only wicket by trapping Michael Bracewell for nought.

In the morning session, Pakistan's three-pronged pace attack looked helpless until Naseem struck in the sixth over after lunch, trapping Latham leg-before with a sharp inswinging delivery.

Latham, who scored 113 in the first match, hit nine boundaries in his 100-ball knock, his 24th Test half-century. Conway was lucky to survive a sharp chance when Saud Shakeel failed to hold on to a miscued drive off Hasan on 89.

Hasan, playing his first Test since July, twice found the edges of Conway’s bat in successive overs after lunch only to see the ball fall short of Abdullah Shafique in the slips and then Shakeel couldn’t hold on to a sharp chance in gully.

The ongoing Test is the second and last of the series after the first ended in a tense draw. New Zealand, on their first Test tour to Pakistan since 2002, had made a strong bid to chase down 138 in the last hour of the first Test after Pakistan captain Babar Azam made a daring declaration. Poor visibility halted the Black Caps at 61-1 in the eighth over to draw the game.

The Pakistan Cricket Board was forced to organise both Test matches in Karachi due to weather concerns in Multan, where winter smog and fog have delayed flights and may have disrupted hours of play.

Updated: January 02, 2023, 1:48 PM